For get me not - DEBBIE'S FLOWERS FOR HER SOULMATE
New Zealand Woman's Weekly|January 24, 2022
While nursing her dear husband through a devastating illness, creativity blossomed
Fleur Guthrie

Initially it was the small things that Debbie Sutherland noticed – things that made her question whether husband Mark was having a few more “senior moments” than usual. Not being able to find the letter “F” on the keyboard or pegging up laundry oddly on the clothesline.

When Debbie would read his emails and social media posts, she would spot a number of spelling errors, when he was usually such a great speller. Yet he was now having difficulty remembering how to write even the simplest of words such as his own name.

But for someone who at the time was only 53 and a former Olympic coach, Mark (known as Sully) put it down to the stress of being self-employed as a high-performance business trainer.

Two years later in 2017, Debbie spoke to his doctor and asked, “Surely this can’t be just stress?” She then met with a neurologist, who immediately dismissed her fear of early-onset dementia, replying that Mark was too young and he was simply showing symptoms of depression.

“As time went on, I started feeling more and more frustrated with him that he could not pull himself out of this ‘stress state’, just like he had helped many of his clients get out of theirs,” recalls Debbie from her Hamilton home.

“I used to say, ‘You have all these tools, why don’t you use them?’

“One day, when Mark was presenting a workshop, he went to write up on the whiteboard the word ‘reputation’, but he could not remember how to spell it. One of the participants came to his aid and took over writing for him.

“From then on, he asked different participants at the workshops to come up and write the points, thus making it more interactive for them. Of course, they did not know that he was afraid to write.”

Things did not improve. Mark forgot how to dress or undress himself, left water running and became unable to use a can opener.

“However, the scariest thing for me was his driving,” says Debbie. “He couldn’t judge car distance and I became scared to get into the car with him as I always thought he was going too far to the right or too far to the left. But his eye test came back fine.

“My sister kept nagging me to get a second opinion, which we eventually did 12 months later and Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of brain disease called posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), which only affects those in the 50 to 65-year-old age group.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEW ZEALAND WOMAN'S WEEKLYView All

Francis & Kaiora's secret pain 'WE'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED GRIEF LIKE IT'

The stars of The Casketeers are supporting each other through a harrowing time

7 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Welcome home, baby!

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra have shared the first photograph of their baby girl Malti Marie - and have also revealed that their first-born had a rocky start to life.

1 min read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Perfect match! 'WE FOUND LOVE ON A TV SHOW'

Leisel and Brayden took a leap of faith when they signed up for romance

3 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

THE PERFECT pork roast dinner

Set the table for a welcoming winter feast with all the trimmings

8 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Oh, boy! KIM'S MESSY TV BREAK-UP

The star says the script was a low blow

1 min read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Poor Baby, Jennifer 'WHY I WAS PUT IN THE CORNER'

Rather than having the time of her life, the star tells how her career nose-dived

4 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Shorty birthday surprise GOOD GOLLY, IT'S HOLLY!

The actress hopes her return will be less controversial, but she knows she can rely on her fiancé to cheer her on

3 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Lights, camera, action! HARRY'S COMIC KIWI CAPER

As the prince stars in his own comedy skit, critics call it another desperate act

7 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

I'M SO sorry!

We all make mistakes. Heal the hurt with a genuine apology

2 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022

Cooking CLASS

Master these simple techniques for preparing your cake pans and you'll get perfect results every time

2 mins read
New Zealand Woman's Weekly
May 23, 2022
RELATED STORIES

MARK CUBAN'S PRESCRIPTION FOR BIG PHARMA

Drug companies face a whole other kind of trial, thanks to a dose of this entrepreneurial legend.

10+ mins read
Inc.
May - June 2022

A Balinese Accent

On Hawaii's Big Island, architect Mark De Reus looks back to an ancient culture for inspiration.

4 mins read
Ocean Home
April/May 2022

THE T&C 2022 Procedure Guide

Fifth Avenue facelifts are approaching the $100K mark, and there are yearslong waitlists for top lipo docs. But do we really need them? A roster, of new, noninvasive anti aging options can effectively stop or at least slow the clock

4 mins read
Town & Country
May 2022

JUST SIT RIGHT BACK AND YOU'LL HEAR A TALE...

...OF THE BILLIONAIRE AND HIS WIFE, THEIR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS, A SHOWDOWN OVER A BACKYARD CHIHULY, AND WHAT GILLIGAN HAS TO DO WITH IT.

9 mins read
Town & Country
May 2022

GM TO OFFER ELECTRIFIED CORVETTE AS EARLY AS NEXT YEAR

General Motors says it will offer an electrified Chevrolet Corvette as early as next year.

1 min read
Techlife News
April 30, 2022

How Apple's iPhone subscription service could be the ultimate lock-in trap

Apple is rumored to be launching a hardware subscription service, but how will it work?

4 mins read
Macworld
May 2022

Elizabeth Taylor & Rock Hudson HEARTBREAK LOVES SECRETS

THESE HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS ENJOYED A SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP THAT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME

4 mins read
Closer US
May 02, 2022

EXCELLENT HOME DEFENSE OPTIONS FOR NEW GUN OWNERS

It need not be big. It need not be fancy. But it must be practical

7 mins read
Gun Digest The Magazine
April 2022

BRING BACK BRIDGET!

RENÉE ZELLWEGER SAYS SHE'S ALL-IN FOR A FOURTH FLICK ABOUT THE LOVEABLE BRIT.

1 min read
Star
May 02, 2022

After You Die, You Could Be Resurrected as a Chatbot. That's a Problem

No one knows where we go when we die. Or for that matter, what happens to our most intimate thoughts, dreams, and desires when the nerve cells in our brains fire for the very last time. But it looks as though Microsoft may have some ideas.

3 mins read
Popular Mechanics South Africa
May/June 2022